Learn the secrets to making perfect light, fluffy, and flavorful mashed potatoes, every time! These are the epitome of comfort food.
I’ve debated sharing a recipe for mashed potatoes on my blog for awhile. I didn’t know if anyone would feel the need to use a “recipe” for them, since they just involve cooking potatoes, seasoning them, and mashing them. But, I’ve tried too many bland, thick and guey mashed potatoes at various events recently, that I couldn’t help myself!
There are few really simple techniques involved in making mashed potatoes that make a world of difference to their taste and texture. Because really, with a recipe this simple, all the world deserves a side of truly amazing, creamy and soft mashed potatoes. It’s the way they were always meant to be. 🙂
First, choose what type of potato you want. I usually stick with russet potatoes, but each different type of potato yields a different texture and flavor. The best potatoes for fluffy mashed potatoes are russet or yukon gold.
You could also use red potatoes, but they’ll yield a thicker, chunkier mash. Avoid using fingerling potatoes.
You can peel the potatoes, or leave the skins on, if you want skins in your mashed potatoes.
Cut the potatoes in half and add them to a large pot with about 4 inches of water (they don’t need to be completely covered). Cover pot with a lid, and cook, covered, until fork tender, but firm, about 15-20 minutes. You don’t want them “mushy” or falling apart.
Once they’re fork tender, drain water completely from the pot and leave potatoes in the pot, covered with a lid, for about 10 minutes. This gives them some time to dry out, which helps them to be extra fluffy.
Then add your seasonings, milk and butter. Mash them until smooth!
I start with a potato masher to break the big potato pieces, and then I use an electric mixer to beat them on medium speed for about 30 seconds, until light and fluffy. BE CAREFUL not to over-mix them or they will get starchy and gummy.
Serve them warm, garnished with fresh parley, or melted butter, if you want. Here are a few extra tricks for making perfect mashed potatoes.
Tips for perfect mashed potatoes:
Use good quality potatoes.
The better the quality, the “fluffier” the potatoes. Avoid potatoes with any green in them. They should be really firm, and no sprouting. Different types of potatoes yield different flavor and texture. I prefer russet potatoes for my mashed potatoes. Yukon gold also work well. Red potatoes will yield a thicker, chunkier mashed potato.
If I’m buying a bag of russet potatoes I smell the bag first to make sure there are no bad potatoes hiding in it.
Allow them to rest.
After you’ve cooked the potatoes until they’re fork-tender, put them back in the pot with the lid on, and let them rest for 10 minutes. This gives them time to dry out a little, without getting cold, and will yield fluffier potatoes as a result.
Flavor them, to your taste.
I always add a scoop of Better then Bouillon chicken paste to add great flavor to my mashed potatoes. Thanks, Mom for this great tip! Also, make sure to taste test them before serving. You may want to add more salt and pepper, or an extra scoop of sour cream, or a little melted butter.
Don’t over mix/mash the potatoes, to avoid gummy, sticky mashed potatoes. As you mix potatoes it causes them to release their starch. You want to release enough starch that they becoming creamy, but not so much that they get gluey.
To make ahead:
Mashed potatoes are a great side dish to make in advance, especially during the holiday season, to free up time and oven-space. See my note, below the recipe, for instructions on making them in advance.
Perfect creamy, fluffy, and flavorful mashed potatoes!
- 5 medium size russet potatoes , peeled, or skin on
- 1/4 cup butter , room temperature
- 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon , paste, or dry
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup evaporated milk , warmed (or use cream or half and half)
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- salt and pepper , to taste
Cut potatoes in half and place in a large pot with about 4 inches of water (they don't need to be completely covered). Cover pot with a lid, and cook, covered, until fork tender, about 15-20 minutes. You don't want them "mushy" or falling apart.
Drain water completely from pot and leave potatoes in the pot, covered with a lid, for about 10 minutes. This gives them time to dry out, which helps them to be extra fluffy.
Remove lid and add butter, chicken bouillon, evaporated milk, sour cream and salt and pepper.
Mash with a potato masher. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed, or more milk, until they are creamy, fluffy and smooth.
I use an electric mixer to beat them on medium speed for about 30 seconds, until light and fluffy. But, be careful not to over-mix them or they will get starchy and gummy.
*I use Better then bouillon base (chicken flavor).
To make ahead:
Add a little extra milk to make sure they're really soft and not too thick. (The potatoes will absorb moisture as they rest.) Spoon mixture into a casserole dish or large tupperware. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 days.
Remove from fridge 1 hour before baking. Taste and add additional seasonings as needed, or milk, to make sure theya re nice and soft. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until warm.
You could also reheat them in a saucepan on the stove, or in the microwave.